One of my students in Spain was asked to provide examples of these in her recent advanced exams. This question has stumped all of the English teachers in our school and I wondered if there was anyone out there who can put us out of our misery? Thanks!
Hello, Beth Emotion: smile
Believe it or not, that type of clause actually exists! ~chuckles~
Saying that a reduced clause is non-finite, however, is redundant. It is a characteristic of reduced clauses, both adverbial and relative, to be non-finite (meaning that they don't have a conjugated or 'finite' verb).
On the other hand, not all finite clauses are reduced clauses.

Reduced adverbial clauses commonly appear at the beginning of the sentence and are separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. These clauses are either present participial (-ing) or past participial (-ed) constructions. They are called 'reduced' clauses because they are precisely the 'reduced' version of a finite clause.

Here are a few examples of reduced adverbial clauses (in parentheses):

These are present participial clauses.
"(Walking down the street), we passed by a flower shop."
"(Our teacher being absent), we left the classroom."

They can be expanded into finite clauses:
"(While/When/As we were walking down the street), we passed by a flower shop."
"(Since/Because/As our teacher was absent), we left the classroom."

These are past participial clauses.
"(Appalled by the sad news), the woman started to cry."
"(The bill having been paid), I buttoned up my coat to leave."
The corresponding finite clauses could be:
"(Since/Because/As she was appalled by the sad news), the woman started to cry."
"(After/As soon as the bill had been paid), I buttoned up my coat to leave."

Students as well as native speakers of English tend to make mistakes in this type of clause when they produce sentences in which the clause appears as what is called a 'misrelated participle'.
Here's an example I love:
"Walking up the stairs, my pen fell off my pocket."
According to that sentence, the pen, not I, was walking up the stairs. In order for this type of clause to be used correctly, IF the clause itself doesn't have an explicit subject, it will be understood that the missing subject will be the same as that of the sentence (as in the two first examples).

I hope it helps.

I am very confused. What is the difference between a phrase, a clause and a reduced clause? Can you please explain more what is the meaning of a reduced clause other than "reduced version of a finite clause"?

Many thanks.

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I am not a native speaker, but I know a little about English grammar; but I sometimes have some problems with determined constructions. I would like you to answer the following questions:

1. Once I write the following phrase to a friend: I doubt you to write the article on time. He said this construction has problems, but he can not explain me why. I have seen it with verbs like want, ask, etc. This construction is said to be Accusative infinite, when can I use it?

2. Parallel to the accusative infinitive there is accusative participle, for instance:

-It is no use you telling me not to worry.
-he was chosen because of him being a fully qualified engineeer
-Please excuse me interrupting you.

I want to know if I can write the above phrases with the accusative infinitive (It is no use you to tell me not to worry.) If so, Is there difference as to meaning?. When can I use one and the other? which features should the verbs meet to use this construction?
dear Jenny,

I know what is the difference between a phrase and a clause:

a phrase is a group of words related with each other but without a verb

ex: the good girl .

a clause is a sentence that have a verb :

ex: I saw the good girl .

so the main difference is the verb,and I think that by using the net you would be able to find a better answer :




are a very helpfull sites

good luke jenny.
Hello. I stumbled across this forum when I googled for a web site to tell me how I can recognize a non-finite adverbial clause, and by looking at Miriam's excellent reply, I think I have managed to produce one:

(Starting as a game where “ugly post cards” were sent to one another), it transformed into another instrument for communication, other than on our personal blogs.

Is the clause in the paratheses a non-finite adverbial clause?
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Examples of non-finite reduced adverbial clauses are:

1. I wanted them to be alone

2. Shocked by the news, she broke down in tears

3. Since I can't have it, nobody sould have it.

NOTE: The italicised parts are nonfinite clauses; they are subordinate and they are adverbials. But the first example is the real reduced subordinate clause. It could also be used as


To be alone is not always pleasant.


They want to be alone.


She seems to be alone.

By Dr E. T. Babalola

Department of English

Obafemi Awolowo University


Hello, Dr. E.T. Babalola!

I'm still uncertain of the third example you've given here. Are you fully convinced that the italicised part of the third example is a non-finite clause?

As I know, clauses can be divided into two kinds, namely finite clauses and non-finite clauses. The distinguishing characteristic between these two clauses is the verb within the clauses.The verb in finite clauses must be a finite verb whereas the verb in non-finite clauses is a non-finite verb. The finite verb shows tense whereas the non-finite one doesn't. Modal auxiliaries count as finite ones. And in the third example you've given, the italicised part contains a modal, "can't". I would say that the italicised part is not a non-finite clause, but it is indeed a finte clause.

Anyway, I agree with the rest of the satisfactory explanation.

Would you please consider the possibility of revising the part that I comment on, Doctor?

Thank you for your attention. Emotion: big smile